Random Act of Kindness ‘Pays it Forward’

— When Lisa Edwards gave her son’s fishing aerator to a thrift shop, she wasn’t expecting to learn that his whole savings were tucked inside.

Zachary Edwards, 17, gives Carrie Wam, the executive director of Candlelighters of Brevard, a check from donations that exceeded his lost $900. (Andrew Knapp, FLORIDA TODAY)


But amid the distraught mother’s pleas for the man who bought the item to come forward, Edwards also wasn’t expecting strangers to step up and make up for the $900 that her teenager had made in two years of delivering pizzas.

In fact, so much was donated that some of it had to be returned.

“I was calling out to one person and one person only,” the 46-year-old said. “The result was absolutely the farthest thing from my mind.”

A resident of Gilbert, Ariz., mailed a check for $100 to the Candlelighters of Brevard Thrift Shoppe. One from Savannah, Ga., sent about $25. A pizzeria in Port St. John contributed. And in a week, a Claussen pickle jar became chock-full of $750 at the South Patrick Drive store.

“People came off the street, threw in a twenty and walked out,” said Carrie Wam, the charity’s executive director. “But I wasn’t surprised at all that we got the money back.”

On Monday, Wam presented a pile of bills, change and checks totaling $1,100 to Zachary, a Satellite High student who planned to use his funds for a trip to Hawaii, his birthplace. But the 17-year-old didn’t feel comfortable with accepting it all — though donors said they wanted to reward him for saving when so many other “kids blow their money on stupid stuff,” Edwards said.

So on Tuesday, Zachary re-gifted the difference — $200 — to the nonprofit that helps young cancer patients.

“The least we can do is give back to the community,” said Edwards, herself in remission from cancer for two years. “We needed to pay it forward.”

The family and store workers harbored no malice toward the man who bought the item for a few dollars. Instead, they focused on the goodness that came of the sale.

“You believed and received,” said Evelyn Zahradnik, a volunteer who wept briefly as Zachary handed over the check Tuesday. “I knew it was going to come back because we live in a great place.”

Edwards’ unfortunate mistake captured interest nationwide after the mom cleaned her son’s old room on Sept. 8 and donated the aerator, used to freshen water for a fisherman’s catch. Radio disc jockeys from KJOC in Davenport, Iowa, guffawed at her expense during a five-minute interview.

“If I were you,” Wam said Tuesday, “I’d stay out of his room.”

“Yeah, she’s cut off,” Zachary said.

The teenager continues to collect wages by delivering pizzas from Pappagallos in Satellite Beach. Next year — but maybe even before Christmas — Zachary hopes to secure enough to fly to Hawaii, visit friends and surf.

Meanwhile, where’s the cash?

“Oh,” he said, “it’s going in a bank, for sure.”

source: http://www.floridatoday.com/article/20100922/NEWS01/9220330/Donors-restore-teen-s-lost-900 via: USA Kindness Blog


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